The most common question I get asked when out cleaning windows in the beautful city of San Diego is, “What do you put in your water to keep from streaking the windows?” To which I usually reply, “Ancient Chinese Secret.” or, “That information is classified ma’am. I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you.” They get the joke…..usually. The truth is there is no secret to cleaning your own windows. A little practice with the right equipment and you can do it yourself. Let me help you.
First off let’s start with your shopping list for the local hardware store. You’re going to need to buy the following:
A 12 to 14 inch squegee (stainless steel or brass)
A wetting wand or “mop” as we call them. They’re usually right next to the squeegees.
A telescoping pole (a 4 to 8 foot pole is common and that’s what we use.)
A small bottle of dishwashing soap
Clean Microfiber towels (this is key to getting that professional clean)
PROPER WATER MIXTURE
Ok, now that you have all your equipment you’re ready to get to work. Start by putting 2 to 3 gallons of cold water in a bucket. To that add about an half to one ounce of dishwashing soap. That’s all you’ll really need as far as soap. A little goes a long way. Now take your wetting wand or mop and stir the solution for a good 30 seconds. KEEP THE SUDS TO A MINIMUM. The better you mix the solution the more effective it will be on cleaning your glass. And did I mention to keep the suds to a minimum? It just makes squeegeeing easier later on. Believe me solution is much easier to squeegee than bubbles.
WETTING THE WINDOW
Now that you have your soapy water ready, dunk your wetting wand in the bucket and completely soak your wand. As you take it out wring it out over the bucket a couple of times. You want it just wet enough so only a few drops of water come off the wand as you are putting on your pole. You want to wet the window, not the ground all around you. So take your lightly “wetted” wand, put it on your pole and start wetting the window. Wet all 4 corners and get the window nice and wet and soapy. Also, don’t wet a window in direct sunlight. It will begin to dry and leave a soapy residue on the glass before you get a chance to squeegee it.
SQUEEGEE THE WINDOW
Ok take the wetting wand off the pole (if you’re using one) and put the squeegee on. Now here is a technique that I use to teach EVERY new window cleaners who comes to work for me. Take one end of the squeegee and “cut” a half inch “dry strip” across the top of the glass. In other words, the first time the squeegee touches the glass you are squeegeeing across the top of the glass with one end of the squeegee. It will take a little practice to get it right but this little technique will pay off with professional-looking streak free glass in the long run.
Once you have that nice dry strip across the top, dry off your squeegee rubber with your towel. Now take your DRY squeegee and put it directly on the DRY STRIP OF GLASS. Think “DRY RUBBER TO DRY GLASS” over and over. That is the secret to streak free glass. “Dry rubber to dry glass.” Now that you’ve placed your dry squeegee to the dry strip on the glass. pull down in one continuous fluid motion, keeping consistently light pressure on the glass. Let the squeegee do the work. This too will take a little practice. A little tip, turn your brain off, don’t think about what you’re doing. Pretend like you’ve done it a million times before and you can do it in your sleep. And in no time you will. Just repeat this process all the way across the glass. After EVERY PULL, dry off the squeegee so you are putting dry rubber on a dry piece of glass.
At about the bottom one third of the window is where most people run into problems. The squeegee comes off the glass or the angle of the squeegee doesn’t fit flush against the glass when you are pulling down At this point do this. Cut a dry strip on one side of the bottom third of glass. And in the same you you pulled down the glass, now pull across the glass. Within a couple of pulls you should be done.
Detailing the window
Once you’ve gone around cleaning all the glass you can access, take your towel and wipe out the track and window frame to give it that “professional” look. Do this last, wiping out the tracks will gunk up your towels pretty fast and you don’t want to be drying off your squeegee with gunked up dirty towels. That dirt will get back on your squeegee and you’ll be cleaning your window with a dirty squeegee. Kinda defeats the purpose.
Keep a good supply of clean towels on hand. You’ll be going through them pretty quickly at first as you practice. As you get better you’ll need less.
“DRY SQUEEGEE ON DRY GLASS” This is the key to hassle free do it yourself window cleaning. Always start squeegeeing a window in this manner. Never deviate from it.
Turn your brain off when squeegeeing. Don’t overthink it. It’s not brain surgery. Just window cleaning.
Be patient. The first few windows will go slow. That’s to be expected. But like anything else the more you do it the better and faster you will get at it.
That’s it. Now go out to your local hardware store get some supplies and give it a shot. But for those of you who feel that the whole process is too involved and would rather leave it to a professional, well if you are in San Diego County and want a professional window cleaning, customer service oriented company come out and thrill you with their experience and service, then click here